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Getting Nothing for Something

By Dennis E. Powell | Jan 11, 2023 at 8:21 PM

Once per generation, it seems, those who have any money at all go berserk and, soon thereafter, bankrupt. It happened in 2000, plus or minus about three years, and it’s happening again now.

Sometimes the Least Bad is the Best

By Timothy R. Butler | Jan 04, 2023 at 10:09 PM

My good friend and fellow OFB writer Dennis E. Powell and I met years ago on a group that championed Free/Open Source software, much for the same sorts of reasons he advocates for his new phone configuration over Apple’s offerings. OFB itself was founded, in fact, to promote such open software, especially Linux, so why would I defend locked down systems from Apple? That’s a story that started 19 years ago, before the iPhone even existed.

Thanks for the Nudge, Apple!

By Dennis E. Powell | Jan 04, 2023 at 9:55 PM

The IOS update that killed my original iPhone SE was the last straw. I was done with Apple. They’d already skated far out onto the thin ice when they killed the excellent Dark Sky weather application and replaced it with their more-is-less Weather application, which took what was once quick, convenient, easy, and comprehensive — Dark Sky — and replaced it with a jumble of information, often not the information being sought, on a too-busy screen. It would have been forgivable if they had provided a setting that restored the look, feel, and functionality of Dark Sky. They didn’t. They never do. Apple knows best.

The Rotten Fruit in the Apple Barrel

By Timothy R. Butler | Nov 30, 2022 at 11:27 PM

As a friend battled viruses on his brand-new Windows computer this week, I thought again about just how spoiled Apple users are by better security and better privacy than Android and Windows folks live with. Long adept at bringing such advantages to the masses that will never try (much less secure) Linux, Apple has one vulnerability is tech prowess cannot overcome: China.

Back to the Present

By Dennis E. Powell | Oct 12, 2022 at 10:29 PM

The train ride was from whatever station is near Hamilton to Boston and back. I was in eastern Massachusetts for a horse show, but was taking a day off to do some work, namely visit the new digs of Miguel deIcaza and Nat Friedman, two of the brighter stars in the Linux firmament, and to interview them.

They were great to talk with, and the steampunk décor at their new company, Ximian, was bracing. I’d probably remember it pretty clearly even if that were the only thing that day which was out of the ordinary. But it wasn’t.

Fraud Wasn't Even the Worst Part

By Timothy R. Butler | Oct 05, 2022 at 9:45 PM

By now most of us know the unpleasant drill. The credit card company calls or texts you and says there appears to be an unauthorized purchase. Somehow, that happened (near as I can tell, merely coincidentally) on three different accounts for me within a week in July. One has turned into a continuing pain months later: Apple Card. Some of this is a fault of the card, but the greater fault lies in a weak bit of design in Apple’s platforms I otherwise love.

Making It "Better"

By Dennis E. Powell | Sep 28, 2022 at 4:43 PM
My friends tend to be people with whom a lively conversation might begin with this question: “How many perfectly useful things have you destroyed in an attempt to make them into something else?”

The State of Television Around Here

By Dennis E. Powell | Sep 14, 2022 at 9:45 AM

It was expensive as mute buttons go. That seems clear to me, but anyone else might need a little explanation. For the last number of years I have had in my bedroom what was the cheapest little flat-screen television that WalMart had to offer in about 2015, so it wasn’t much good seven years ago and today no one would purchase even a telephone with its low video specifications and lack of inputs.

How to Go on Vacation Without Going

By Timothy R. Butler | Sep 07, 2022 at 11:11 PM

Everyone loves to show off some photos of their latest trip or family party. So, here I’ll share some to start off this week’s column. Never mind if you would rather not see my family’s party or my vacation — these aren’t those anyway. I’ve been under-the-weather and keeping my distance from folks. Here’s another secret though: they aren’t anybody’s.

This One Was a Real Celebration

By Dennis E. Powell | May 04, 2022 at 2:37 PM

It started before the pandemic, but the pandemic let it take root and become the norm. We don’t often have funerals any more, at least not religious services in which we mourn the departed and beg God to welcome our dead friend or relative into the splendor of eternal Heavenly life. Instead, the obituary now frequently ends with “A celebration of life will take place at a later date.”

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